Chariots

It’s just an inanimate object. A conglomeration of rubber, pistons, crank shafts, rings, nuts, bolts, cables, wires, leather, cloth, vinyl, and glass, all expertly pieced together to form the perfect form of mobility. But to each of us it’s so much more than just a car, a simple sum of its parts. The relationship between these modern chariots and their owners isn’t something to be taken lightly, just ask Stephen King (Christine). Speak to anyone at length and when the topic eventually rolls around to automobiles, just watch as their eyes light up. Right or wrong, we are defined by what we drive and conversely who we are is expressed in what we choose to be seen in. Everyone has a favorite car they’ve owned, or one they dream about owning someday.

I counted them up, and over the course of my life (so far) I have owned 14 different vehicles. Some of them I scratch my head and wonder what I was thinking, but others were true gems that transported me through wondrous times and ever-lasting memories. I thought I’d tell you the story of four of them today.

Naturally the list has to start off at the beginning. We all remember our first car; it maintains a special place in the heart regardless of how many follow it. For me it was a 1966 green Chevy Van. My uncle worked in the auto shop for Southern Bell in Baton Rouge and was responsible for selling off parts of the fleet that had exceeded mileage limits. He came across this one particular van in excellent shape despite its miles, so he called my Dad and a deal was struck. I took possession of it my sophomore year of high school. When I first laid eyes on it I didn’t see the rust, the dents, and the bland appearance. What I saw was a meek caterpillar, waiting for me to weave a cocoon so it might emerge as a beautiful six-cylinder butterfly. My Dad and I performed the complete makeover together. We carpeted the inside, put in a killer stereo, tinted the windows, and gave it a new coat of paint with stylish pin striping. I learned to drive a standard shift in that van (3 speed with the shifter on the steering column). It was a great first car! That same year the song ‘Chevy Van’ by Sammy Johns played on the radio a lot. Anybody remember it?

The second car on my standout list was the only convertible I owned. It was a red Triumph TR3 two seater (don’t remember the year). That car was so impractical it wasn’t funny, but it was a blast!! The suspension sucked and I was always running out of gas because the gauge kept going on the fritz, but driving the roads on a cool fall day with the top down is a treasured remembrance. I owned the TR3 while I was going to college, but didn’t have it for long. Like I said, impractical.

A 1976 black Trans AM fills the 3rd slot on my list. That car was a monster, and it was FAST!!! It was a four speed (naturally) and had enough horsepower in it even I had a hard time controlling it. My only venture over 100 mph (on a lonely back road) came in that car. Girls were drawn to it and guys drooled over it. The only reason I got rid of it was because I was going back to college full time and I couldn’t afford to keep it. I probably miss that car the most.

The fourth and final car on my list is a 1994 white Ford Mustang. That was the year (1994) of the fourth major redesign of the mustang. Of the 14 cars I have owned, only five of them have been brand new cars. This mustang was one of them. I have always held a special love for the mustangs. The 1966 mustang (the same car driven by Steve McQueen in ‘Bullitt’ or Nicholas Cage in ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’) is my ultimate dream car. When the new body style came out in ’94 and it was a return to the stylish nature of its predecessors, I had to have it. It was a wonderful car that I hand washed every weekend. In the end I had to sell that car to make accommodations for something else precious in my life…the expecting of our 3rd child.

That’s it. Those are my four favorite cars. What about you? What was your favorite car(s)? What made it special to you?

47 comments

  1. LOVE that little convertible! FUN!

    Hubs promised our next vehicle could be a convertible...but I'm going to put it off for a few more years because I want it to be our getaway car and with a couple little ones still at home we won't be able to do much gettin' away!

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  2. My favorite car is NOT my P.o.S. falling-apart grey Neon...

    My step-dad is rebuilding a 1963 (I think) Triumph TR3. He's a member of several groups that like to talk about all things Triumph... he'd appreciate that you owned one. :)

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  3. See, now, your cars rocked--such GUY cars (& I loved the triumph). Mine, however, have been nothing but practical: I shared my dad's 1984 Ford Mustang in high school (a hideous year for mustangs. Absolutely NO redeeming qualities), inherited my granny's 1989 Ford Tempo, bought a Saturn LS2. All blah.

    But I'd love a 1967 Impala--just like the one Dean drives in Supernatural. Sweet!

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  4. My favorite car was my 1995 Dodge Ram truck with step sides. I drove that bad boy cross country. I wish I still had it. I wish I still had it. I wish I still had it. (Doesn't it count if you wish on something 3 times? Oh, or was that just Dorothy?)

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  5. You have had some serious sweet rides :) I've never been one to drool over cars, but those ones sure are pretty. I've always thought convertibles look cool, but I would never own one. (I care too much about messing up my hair. I am SUCH a GIRL!! LOL.)I have owned practical cars, and right now I own a brand new Subaru. It may be practical, but I loves it! :)

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  6. I have yet to get my dream car. I've had plenty of dream cars, but never bought one of them.

    I sat in a TR4 back in 1975 and wanted to own one. Couldn't afford it, though. Ended up getting a Pontiac Sunbird (and learned to drive a stick with that one).

    I fell in love the the Trans Am (probably a '74, though) and the Mustang. Came close to buying the Mustang.

    I dreamed of owning a Toyota Celica until I sat in one. Went more practical with a Nissan Altima.

    Now I want a Nissan Xterra. I think it looks cool and I actually enjoyed driving it. Maybe next year I'll finally GET one of my dream cars.

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  7. My father had a yellow Triumph Spitfire for years.
    The only car in my past I truly loathed was a Ford Tempo. It had issues.

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  8. I had a little pink honda civic - and I loved it! Managed to squeeze us, the dogs, three other people and five giant packs in it once *grin* was quite the sight

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  9. Love that little convertible! That must have been a blast!

    I once had a Charger Daytona SE. Loved that car...except when it would stall at stops in rainy weather. (With this car, I quickly perfected the two-footed driving technique: One foot on the brake, the other on the gas.)

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  10. This post makes me sad. My sister's truck (which we call Trucky) has just started failing. It makes me sad to not think of her in our lives.

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  11. sigh...to think of her not in our lives is what i meant to write there...

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  12. I'm only on my second car. :-) I bought my first, a '95 Ford Taurus and drove it through my senior year of college. It definitely had its ups and downs--was rebuilt after an totalling accident by my ex-boyfriend.

    Two months before I graduated and got married, the ol' Taurus started REALLY going downhill, so we bought an '01 Chrysler PT Cruiser. I know people associate those cars with the elderly, but I love it! Coming from such a shitter, it's luxurious, believe me. Leather and suede seats, a/c, cd player, a/c, intact upholstery, A/C, A/C, A/C! We just paid it off two weeks ago, which was a nice feeling... as we're planning on driving it into the ground. :-)

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  13. But I meant to say that during the time the Taurus was wrecked, I drove my parents '86 Dodge Dakota, which I loved! We were the same age. :-)

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  14. We had that van's ugly brother! Do the doors open like cabinets?

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  15. I don't really give a hoot about cars but y dad loves them so I included a few of his favs in my first novel. Desoto, old Mustangs, etc.

    Nice pics!

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  16. That Triumph TR3 is sweet. I had a friend who had one in a dark brown. This post made me think about my first car. It was a hand me down - Dodge Dart. It was a death trap with a mind of its own. I'd turn the wheel left it would veer right. It would shake if you went over like 40 mph. Ah, memories….

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  17. Look at everyone light up! You were right ;) My one and only favorite car was my first. I have a feeling Baby will always be my special honey. She was a 95 Ford Probe and she looked blue in some light and purple in others. It traveled the country with me and it could fit more in it than it looked. Like clowns piling out of a phone booth effect. I miss it. *cries*
    Sweet rides by the way ;)

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  18. I actually didn't own a car until I was married. My then-boyfriend, now-hubby had a gorgeous Chevelle - '69 I think. Little lighter than a royal blue. Sleek. Loved it. He sold it so we could put a down payment on our first house.

    I've always loved Mustangs - fabulous cars :)

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  19. UGH...I lost my internet connection mid a long comment...

    Great post DL! I love cars. I've had two favorites: a 94 cougar and an 88 grand am.

    The Grand Am was my first new car. I got it a few months before I finished college. It was black with a quad four DOHC in it. Had power windows and locks. It had a split back seat, so you could reach in the trunk if you (ummm) needed a soda from the cooler.

    Thanks for making me smile!

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  20. I'm a F O R D person. What does that say about me?

    Now I drive a 2005 Chevy Equinox. Hohohohoho. Poor thing, I don't think its ever been off road. No prospects in the near future either.

    ......dhole

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  21. This was such a fun post!!! I haven't owned many cars, in fact I've only owned one so it's easy for me, my lovely little Mazda3 is the cutest and most comfortable car I've ever owned, add great gas mileage and she can't be beat :)

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  22. Its so true that remember cars can take us back to a whole nother time! i loved your car stories! My most memorable was probably the ford probe with the flip up batman headlights. It was a dark pink and the transmission blew frequently but we shared some good times.

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  23. suh-weet G-rides, DL! Esp. the Trans Am--LOL! :D No, the best by far is the TR3. Who's not a sucker for a convertible? good stuff~

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  24. Not sure about the van (just joking) but the other three cars you've had looked real nice! I would love me a Trans AM. ;]

    I haven't had a favorite car yet but hopefully within another year I can buy one that I actually WANT. Right now I drive a '93 Honda Civic, and while it has great mileage and a nice stereo and seats, there's no working AC, the window wipers are easily set off, and it's in bad need of a paint job.

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  25. I'm so boring. All I've ever owned is boring cars. I'll look at yours and pretent my motor-life is more exciting!

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  26. Oh, I miss my car! Living in central London, there's really no need... and no driveways!

    I had a little red Vauxhall Corsa my first year in London, though. That was my favourite - so easy to park. Love it!

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  27. OoooOOOoo... Ahhhhh. So pretty. I love that second one; it's adorable! :)

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  28. I miss my first car: a grey Oldsmobile Firenza hatchback. Thing leaked through the sunroof when it rained, had no working AC, but she was great for carting my stuff back and forth from college. Got rid of it for nothing when it broke down and landlord got annoyed with it sitting around. Turns out that car was a limited edition, according to what my husband found out when he researched the model while trying to find me a replacement. I'd actually had something really cool, and dumped it. *wails*

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  29. Nice car show you've got going here! What happened to your Bickering Blogfest??? :(

    I'd still like to know what you think of my entry! :D

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  30. Nicole ~ They should ban the color pink as an option for cars!! :)

    Leah ~ Yes, they did. On the side and in the rear.

    Hannah ~ I've driven a few 'death-traps' in my day as well. :)

    Erica ~ I'm sure 'Baby' has gone to a better resting place. :)

    Lydia ~ It's never too late!!!!

    Jaleh ~ :(

    Elizabeth ~ OH CRAP!!!! Totally screwed up on that one!

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  31. I can imagine the fun you would have had with your friends in that van! My boyfriend had a similar Trans Am and that car was a beast. I agree that cars do show our character. My writing usually has the car make the characters drive, and my critique partners always tell me not to edit it out. Thanks for the Happy Canada Day wishes!

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  32. My favorite car was a 1976 Buick Century. I loved that car because it always started and any problems that needed to be fixed were cheap and easy. I could even fix it in the parking lot of my son's daycare and she would start right up. It could run forever. I loved those old cars.

    Now my favorite vehicle is my 1982 Superglide motorcycle. Again an old motor, a Shovelhead. She'll run forever.

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  33. My first car I hated at first sight - it was a beater Mazda GLC that had steam rolling out of the engine as I came home from school, and my mom proudly said to me, "We bought you a car!" I groaned inwardly (because I had been secretly wishing for a convertible VW bug, painted cherry red and in good condition), and said, "but it looks broken."
    My mom's response, "Don't worry, your Dad is dropping another engine into it that he bought at the junkyard."

    Despite the rough beginning, that little GLC and I had some great adventures together, even if it felt like it was going to rattle apart at 95mph.

    I still want a VW bug, but it wouldn't be practical for our family at this point. My only real desire for our next car purchase is that it have a stick shift because I despise automatics.

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  34. I have left another frilly award for you on my blog :D Have a great holiday weekend.
    And yes, Baby was left in good hands...I refuse to think otherwise ;)

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  35. Oooh, that Triumph was one cute little car! Admittedly I do love the Mustang, but only with the new (and old) muscle car look. *sigh* One of those that rests solidly in my top ten cars I would like to own someday. ;)

    I've only had two cars at this point in my life and neither were incredible. Out of the two, however, I like my little Toyota Echo the best. My first was a Saturn and boy what a POS that was.

    Happy Fourth!

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  36. I miss my Saab. A big, mean taco truck backed into her.

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  37. Oh oh oh. I want the second car. I don't care if it's impractial. I. LOVE. IT.

    Some of my fav cars are even more impractical. Horse and carriage anyone? Or better yet. Horseless carriage. ;)

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  38. Tyrean ~ It's been awhile since I've driven a stick. Most suited for the sports cars!

    Kimberly ~ My TR3 would have made the perfect SECOND car!! :)

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  39. I like your blog !!Thank you. They are really great .
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  40. Oh, wow, the red Triumph TR3 is a beauty! I've always had a love of corvettes, and my favorites are the older ones--classic!

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  41. The Triumph and Trans Am are beautiful.

    BTW, I have a thank you over on my blog!

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  42. My husband would go crazy over that Triumph! That's awesome.

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  43. You've had some awesome cars-- and 14?? Wow. I'm still on my first, though it is getting rather worn down...

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  44. Julie ~ Your hubby has good taste!! :)

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  45. Mine is an original 1930 ford vicky... chopped and dropped and made into a real 1956 hot rod...my little baby wins lots of car show awards....you can find her on my blog in an old post.

    of your's I like your convertible! It's cute!

    Hawk

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  46. You had a Trans Am!!!! WOOHOO! Those things are hot stuff!

    I've only had 2 vehicles... both given to me by my parents: one hand me down green chevy truck in high school, and a bermuda blue chevy tahoe in college, which I still drive and love--except the speedometer says i'm going 120+ when it's really about 40...)

    If I win the lottery (and after I first dig a new water well in a third world country of course)... I'd like to get a Corvette.. maybe deep blue.. maybe metallic orange... the back end on those things completely melts me. i know.. i'm odd.

    Fun post!!

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  47. An interesting idea, that we can be defined by our cars. I hadn't really thought of that before.

    The car that's the most special to me is a car I drove maybe four times. When my siblings and I reached driving age, we shared the old family car. And by old, I mean old. We used to joke that if someone ever hit that car, we should just take $100 and pretend it never happened. Of course, I took the longest to learn, so I almost never drove it, but that car had character.

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